The new record is the first in 10 years from the acclaimed trio–Brownstein, vocalist/guitarist Corin Tucker, and drummer Janet Weiss–who came crashing out of the ’90s Pacific Northwest riot grrrl scene, setting a new bar for punk’s political insight and emotional impact. Formed in Olympia, WA in 1994, Sleater-Kinney were hailed as “America’s best rock band” by Greil Marcus in Time Magazine, and put out seven searing albums in 10 years before going on indefinite hiatus in 2006.
“I always considered Corin and Carrie to be musical soulmates in the tradition of the greats,” says Weiss, whose drums fuel the fire of Tucker and Brownstein’s vocal and guitar interplay. “Something about taking a break brought them closer, desperate to reach together again for their true expression.” The result is a record that grapples with love, power and redemption without restraint. “The three of us want the same thing,” says Weiss. “We want the songs to be daunting.”
Sleater-Kinney’s decade apart made room for family and other fruitful collaborations, as well as an understanding of what the band’s singular chemistry demands. “Creativity is about where you want your blood to flow, because in order to do something meaningful and powerful there has to be life inside of it,” says Brownstein. “Sleater-Kinney isn’t something you can do half-assed or half-heartedly. We have to really want it. This band requires a certain desperation, a direness. We have to be willing to push because the entity that is this band will push right back.”
“The core of this record is our relationship to each other, to the music, and how all of us still felt strongly enough about those to sweat it out in the basement and to try and reinvent our band,” adds Tucker. With No Cities to Love, “we went for the jugular.”